Antisemitism (alternatively spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism; also rarely known as judeophobia) is the prejudice against or hostility toward Jews as a group. The prejudice or hostility is usually characterized by a combination of religious, racial, cultural and ethnic biases. While the term's etymology might suggest that antisemitism is directed against all Semitic peoples, since its creation it has been used exclusively to refer to hostility towards Jews.
Antisemitism may be manifested in many ways, ranging from individual expressions of hatred and discrimination against individual Jews to organized violent attacks by mobs or even state police or military attacks on entire Jewish communities. Extreme instances of persecution include the German Crusade of 1096, the expulsion from England in 1290, the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the expulsion from Portugal in 1497, various pogroms, and the most infamous, the Holocaust under Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.
In addition, from the 1990s, some writers claim to have identified a new antisemitism, a form of antisemitism coming simultaneously from the far left, the far right, and radical Islam, which tends to focus on opposition to Zionism and a Jewish homeland in the State of Israel, and which may deploy traditional antisemitism motifs. Proponents of the concept argue that anti-Zionism, anti-Americanism, anti-globalization, third worldism, and demonization of Israel or double standards applied to its conduct may be linked to antisemitism, or constitute disguised antisemitism. Critics of the concept argue that it conflates anti-Zionism with antisemitism, defines legitimate criticism of Israel too narrowly and demonization too broadly, trivializes the meaning of antisemitism, and exploits antisemitism in order to silence debate.
The term Semite refers broadly to speakers of a language group which includes both Arabs and Jews. However, the term antisemitism is specifically used in reference to attitudes held towards Jews. The word antisemitic (antisemitisch in German) was probably first used in 1860 by the Austrian Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider in the phrase "antisemitic prejudices" ("antisemitische Vorurteile"). Steinschneider used this phrase to characterize Ernest Renan's ideas about how "Semitic races" were inferior to "Aryan races." These pseudo-scientific theories concerning race, civilization, and "progress" had become quite widespread in Europe in the second half of the 19th century, especially as Prussian nationalistic historian Heinrich von Treitschke did much to promote this form of racism. In Treitschke's writings Semitic was synonymous with Jewish, in contrast to its usage by Renan and others.
In 1873 German journalist Wilhelm Marr published a pamphlet "The Victory of the Jewish Spirit over the Germanic Spirit. Observed from a non-religious perspective." ("Der Sieg des Judenthums über das Germanenthum. Vom nicht confessionellen Standpunkt aus betrachtet.") in which he used the word "Semitismus" interchangeably with the word "Judentum" to denote both "Jewry" (the Jews as a collective) and "jewishness" (the quality of being Jewish,or the Jewish spirit). Although he did not use the word "Antisemitismus" in the panphlet, the coining of the latter word followed naturally from the word "Semitismus", and indicated either opposition to the Jews as a people, or else oppositon to jewishness or the Jewish spirit, which he saw as infiltrating German culture. In his next pamphlet, "The Way to Victory of the Germanic Spirit over the Jewish Spirit", published in 1880, Marr developed his ideas further and coined the related German word Antisemitismus - antisemitism, derived from the word "Semitismus" that he had earlier used.
The pamphlet became very popular, and in the same year he founded the "League of Antisemites" ("Antisemiten-Liga"), the first German organization committed specifically to combatting the alleged threat to Germany and German culture posed by the Jews and their influence, and advocating their forced removal from the country.
So far as can be ascertained, the word was first widely printed in 1881, when Marr published "Zwanglose Antisemitische Hefte," and Wilhelm Scherer used the term "Antisemiten" in the January issue of "Neue Freie Presse". The related word semitism was coined around 1885. See also the coinage of the term "Palestinian" by Germans to refer to ethnic Jews, as distinct from the religion of Judaism.
Despite the use of the prefix "anti," the terms Semitic and anti-Semitic are not directly opposed to each other (unlike similar-seeming terms such as anti-American or anti-Hellenic). To avoid the confusion of the misnomer, many scholars on the subject (such as Emil Fackenheim) now favor the unhyphenated antisemitism in order to emphasize that the word should be read as a single unified term, not as a meaningful root word-prefix combination.
The term antisemitism has historically referred to prejudice against Jews alone, and this was the only use of the word for more than a century. It does not traditionally refer to prejudice against other people who speak Semitic languages (e.g. Arabs or Assyrians). Bernard Lewis, Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University, says that "Antisemitism has never anywhere been concerned with anyone but Jews." Yehuda Bauer also articulated this view in his writings and lectures: (the term) "Antisemitism, especially in its hyphenated spelling, is inane nonsense, because there is no Semitism that you can be anti to." A similar point is made by Professor Shmuel Almog, of the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who writes "So the hyphen, or rather its omission, conveys a message; if you hyphenate your 'anti-Semitism', you attach some credence to the very foundation on which the whole thing rests."
In recent decades, some groups have argued that the term should be extended to include prejudice against Arabs or Anti-Arabism, in the context of answering accusations of Arab antisemitism; further, some, including the Islamic Association of Palestine, have argued that this implies that Arabs cannot, by definition, be antisemitic. The argument runs that since the Semitic language family includes Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic languages and the historical term "Semite" refers to all those who consider themselves descendants of the Biblical Shem, "anti-Semitism" should be likewise inclusive. However, this usage is not generally accepted.
Though the general definition of antisemitism is hostility or prejudice against Jews, a number of authorities have developed more formal definitions. Holocaust scholar and City University of New York professor Helen Fein defines it as "a persisting latent structure of hostile beliefs towards Jews as a collective manifested in individuals as attitudes, and in culture as myth, ideology, folklore and imagery, and in actions – social or legal discrimination, political mobilization against the Jews, and collective or state violence – which results in and/or is designed to distance, displace, or destroy Jews as Jews."
Professor Dietz Bering of the University of Cologne further expanded on Professor Fein's definition by describing the structure of antisemitic beliefs. To antisemites, "Jews are not only partially but totally bad by nature, that is, their bad traits are incorrigible. Because of this bad nature: (1) Jews have to be seen not as individuals but as a collective. (2) Jews remain essentially alien in the surrounding societies. (3) Jews bring disaster on their 'host societies' or on the whole world, they are doing it secretly, therefore the antisemites feel obliged to unmask the conspiratorial, bad Jewish character."
Bernard Lewis defines antisemitism as a special case of prejudice, hatred, or persecution directed against people who are in some way different from the rest. According to Lewis, antisemitism is marked by two distinct features: Jews are judged according to a standard different from that applied to others, and they are accused of "cosmic evil." Thus, "it is perfectly possible to hate and even to persecute Jews without necessarily being anti-Semitic" unless this hatred or persecution displays one of the two features specific to antisemitism.
There have been a number of efforts by international and governmental bodies to define antisemitism formally. The United States Department of State defines antisemitism in its 2005 Report on Global Anti-Semitism as "hatred toward Jews — individually and as a group — that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity."
In 2005, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), a body of the European Union, developed a more detailed discussion: "Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for 'why things go wrong'."
The EUMC then listed "contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere." These included: "Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews; accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group; denying the Holocaust; and accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations. The EUMC also discussed ways in which attacking Israel could be antisemitic, depending on the context, while clarifying that "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic." (see anti-Zionism below). To encourage additional usage of the definition, the European Forum on Antisemitism has commissioned translations of the working definition into numerous languages.
In 1879, Wilhelm Marr founded the Antisemiten-Liga (Antisemitic League). Identification with antisemitism and as an antisemite was politically advantageous in Europe in the latter 19th century. For example, Karl Lueger, the popular mayor of fin de siècle Vienna, skillfully exploited antisemitism as a way of channeling public discontent to his political advantage. In its 1910 obituary of Lueger, The New York Times notes that Lueger was "Chairman of the Christian Social Union of the Parliament and of the Anti-Semitic Union of the Diet of Lower Austria. In 1895 A. C. Cuza organized the Alliance Anti-semitique Universelle in Bucharest. In the period before World War II, when animosity towards Jews was far more commonplace, it was not uncommon for a person, organization, or political party to self-identify as an antisemite or antisemitic.
The early zionist pioneer, Judah Leib Pinsker, in a pamphlet written in 1882, said that antisemitism was an inherited predisposition:
Judeophobia is a psychic aberration. As a psychic aberration it is hereditary, and as a disease transmitted for two thousand years it is incurable.' ... 'In this way have Judaism and Anti-Semitism passed for centuries through history as inseparable companions.'... ...'Having analyzed Judeophobia as an hereditary form of demonopathy, peculiar to the human race, and having represented Anti-Semitism as proceeding from an inherited aberration of the human mind, we must draw the important conclusion that we must give' up contending against these hostile impulses as we must against every other inherited predisposition.
In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, Goebbels announced: "The German people is anti-Semitic. It has no desire to have its rights restricted or to be provoked in the future by parasites of the Jewish race.
After Hitler's rise to power, and particularly after the extent of the Nazi genocide of Jews became known, the term "antisemitism" acquired pejorative connotations. This marked a full circle shift in usage, from an era just decades earlier when "Jew" was used as a pejorative term. Yehuda Bauer wrote in 1984: "There are no antisemites in the world... Nobody says, 'I am antisemitic.'" You cannot, after Hitler. The word has gone out of fashion.
The Jewish diaspora on the Nile island Elephantine, which was founded by mercenaries, experienced the destruction of its temple in 410 BC.
Relationships between the Jewish people and the occupying Roman Empire were at first antagonistic and resulted in several rebellions. According to Suetonius, the emperor Tiberius expelled from Rome, Jews who had gone to live there. The 18th century English historian Edward Gibbon identified a more tolerant period beginning in about 160 CE.
According to James Carroll, "Jews accounted for 10% of the total population of the Roman Empire. By that ratio, if other factors such as pogroms and conversions had not intervened, there would be 200 million Jews in the world today, instead of something like 13 million.
From the 9th century CE, Christian and Jewish dhimmi were allowed to freely practice their religion in the medieval Islamic world to a greater extent than in medieval Christian Europe. Under Islamic rule, there was a Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain that lasted until at least the 11th century, when several Muslim pogroms against Jews took place in the Iberian Peninsula; those that occurred in Córdoba in 1011 and in Granada in 1066. Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Jews were also forced to convert to Islam or face death in some parts of Yemen, Morocco and Baghdad at certain times. The Almohads, who had taken control of the Almoravids' Maghribi and Andalusian territories by 1147, far surpassed the Almoravides in fundamentalist outlook, and they treated the dhimmis harshly. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, many Jews and Christians emigrated. Some, such as the family of Maimonides, fled east to more tolerant Muslim lands, while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms. During the Middle Ages in Europe there was full-scale persecution against Jews in many places, with blood libels, expulsions, forced conversions and massacre. A main justification of prejudice against Jews in Europe was religious. Jews were frequently massacred and exiled from various European countries. The persecution hit its first peak during the Crusades. In the First Crusade (1096) flourishing communities on the Rhine and the Danube were utterly destroyed; see German Crusade, 1096. In the Second Crusade (1147) the Jews in France were subject to frequent massacres. The Jews were also subjected to attacks by the Shepherds' Crusades of 1251 and 1320. The Crusades were followed by expulsions, including in, 1290, the banishing of all English Jews; in 1396, 100,000 Jews were expelled from France; and, in 1421 thousands were expelled from Austria. Many of the expelled Jews fled to Poland.
As the Black Death epidemics devastated Europe in the mid-14th century, annihilating more than half of the population, Jews were used as scapegoats. Rumors spread that they caused the disease by deliberately poisoning wells. Hundreds of Jewish communities were destroyed by violence. Although Pope Clement VI tried to protect them by the July 6, 1348, papal bull and an additional bull in 1348, several months later, 900 Jews were burnt alive in Strasbourg, where the plague hadn't yet affected the city.
In 1772, the empress of Russia Catherine II forced the Jews of the Pale of Settlement to stay in their shtetls and forbade them from returning to the towns that they occupied before the partition of Poland.
In 1850 the German composer Richard Wagner published Das Judenthum in der Musik ("Jewishness in Music") under a pseudonym in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. The essay began as an attack on Jewish composers, particularly Wagner's contemporaries (and rivals) Felix Mendelssohn and Giacomo Meyerbeer, but expanded to accuse Jews of being a harmful and alien element in German culture.
In the first half of the twentieth century, in the USA, Jews were discriminated against in employment, access to residential and resort areas, membership in clubs and organizations, and in tightened quotas on Jewish enrollment and teaching positions in colleges and universities. The Leo Frank lynching by a mob of prominent citizens in Marietta, Georgia in 1915 turned the spotlight on antisemitism in the United States. The case was also used to build support for the renewal of the Ku Klux Klan which had been inactive since 1870.
Antisemitism in America reached its peak during the interwar period. The pioneer automobile manufacturer Henry Ford propagated antisemitic ideas in his newspaper The Dearborn Independent. The radio speeches of Father Coughlin in the late 1930s attacked Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and promoted the notion of a Jewish financial conspiracy. Such views were also shared by some prominent politicians; Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency, blamed Jews for president Roosevelt's decision to abandon the gold standard, and claimed that "in the United States today, the Gentiles have the slips of paper while the Jews have the lawful money.
In the 1940s the aviator Charles Lindbergh and many prominent Americans led The America First Committee in opposing any involvement in the war against Fascism. During his July 1936 visit he wrote letters saying that there was “more intelligent leadership in Germany than is generally recognized.”
The German American Bund held parades in New York City during the late 1930s where Nazi uniforms were worn and flags featuring swastikas were raised alongside American flags. The US House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) was very active in denying the Bund's ability to operate. With the start of US involvement in World War II most of the Bund's members were placed in internment camps, and some were deported at the end of the war.
Sometimes, during race riots, as in Detroit in 1943, Jewish businesses were targeted for looting and burning.
This is seen by many as the culmination of generations of antisemitism in Europe.
Antisemitism was commonly used as an instrument for personal conflicts in Soviet Russia, starting from conflict between Stalin and Trotsky ("Jews are trotskists, trotskists are Jews") and continuing through numerous conspiracy theories spread by official propaganda. Departament IV of NKVD was called "Jewsekcia" for its activity in "cleansing" party structures from Jews. Antisemitism in the USSR reached its peak after 1948 during the campaign against "rootless cosmopolitan", when several hundred Yiddish-writing poets, writers, painters and sculptors were killed.
After the war, the Kielce pogrom and "March 1968 events" in communist Poland represented a further incidents of antisemitism in Europe. The common theme behind the anti-Jewish violence in the postwar Poland were blood libel rumours .
The cult of Simon of Trent was disbanded in 1965 by Pope Paul VI, and the shrine erected to him was dismantled. He was removed from the calendar, and his future veneration was forbidden, though a handful of extremists still promote the narrative as a fact. In the 20th century, the Beilis Trial in Russia represented incidents of blood libel in Europe. Unproven rumours of Jews killing Christians were used as justification for killing of Jews by Christians.
Religious antisemitism is also known as anti-Judaism. As the name implies, it was the practice of Judaism itself that was the defining characteristic of the antisemitic attacks. Under this version of antisemitism, attacks would often stop if Jews stopped practicing or changed their public faith, especially by conversion to the official or right religion, and sometimes, liturgical exclusion of Jewish converts (the case of Christianized Marranos or Iberian Jews in the late 15th and 16th centuries convicted of secretly practising Judaism or Jewish customs).
Jews have lived as a religious minority in Christian and Muslim lands since the Roman Empire became Christian. Christianity and Islam have both portrayed Jews as those who rejected God's truth. Christians and Muslims have, over the centuries, alternately lived in peace with Jews and persecuted them.
Certain historians have noted that the New Testament, although recognized as being largely authored by Jews within a Jewish cultural context, has been singled out for its progressively antagonistic tone and hostile attitude toward Jews. Particularly, the Gospel of John has been singled out in antisemitic texts, because it includes many anti-Jewish episodes, and it contains many references to Jews in a pejorative manner. has repeatedly been employed for antisemitic purposes. The verse speaks of violence suffered at the hands of one's own countrymen. It claims that the Churches in Judea had been persecuted by the Jews who killed Jesus and that such people displease God, oppose all men, and had prevented Paul from speaking to the gentile nations concerning the New Testament message. During the Second Temple period there were sectarian differences among Jewish religious groups regarding communication with Gentiles. The verse has created significant debate among scholars because some feel it contradicts the other writings attributed to Paul, and because Paul did not have an attitude of revulsion toward his life as a Pharisee before Christianity.
The New Testament states that while on trial, Jesus was struck in the face by a Jewish guard for allegedly speaking ill of the high priest (). Such incidents were the source of the myth of the wandering Jew, who was doomed to the punishment of endless roaming and suffering fated to never die.
The death of Jesus, according to the New Testament, was done in brutal mockery by the Roman soldiers. Pontius Pilate's words imply that the Jews were entirely responsible for the killing. When Jesus is nailed to the cross, the New Testament states that those present mocked Jesus (); some have speculated that the unnamed individuals were in fact Jews. Further speculation states that the overall impression on Christians was that the Jews controlled the events that lead to the death of Jesus , although the Roman (or goy/gentile) involvement in the affair, specifically the form of execution, is attested to within the New Testament text.
The process by which some believe that Christians began to see Judaism first as a rival, and then as a scapegoat, is seen as traceable through select passages in the New Testament, as well as early Christian writings and of the Apostolic fathers. The destruction of the Second Temple was seen as judgment from God to the Jews for the death of Jesus. Parallel passages to this affect can be seen in the Old Testament nevi'im (prophets), specifically Book of Jeremiah, which speaks of the judgment, destruction, and deportation of the Jewish nation from Jerusalem by the Babylonians (under Nebuchadrezzar II in 587 BC )
The majority of the New Testament was written by Jews who became followers of Jesus, and all but two books (Luke and Acts) are traditionally attributed to such Jewish followers. Nevertheless, there are a number of passages in the New Testament that some see as antisemitic, or have been used for antisemitic purposes, most notably:
Jesus speaking to a group of Pharisees: "I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father." They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did. ... You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is you are not of God." ()
Stephen speaking before a synagogue council just before his execution: "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it." (RSV)
"Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie — behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and learn that I have loved you." (RSV).Some biblical scholars point out that Jesus and Stephen are presented as Jews speaking to other Jews, and that their use of broad accusation against Israel is borrowed from Moses and the later Jewish prophets (e.g. ; ; , ; ; ; ; ). Jesus once calls his own disciple Peter 'Satan' (). Other scholars hold that verses like these reflect the Jewish-Christian tensions that were emerging in the late first or early second century, and do not originate with Jesus.
Drawing from the Jewish prophet Jeremiah the New Testament taught that with the death of Jesus a new covenant was established which rendered obsolete - and in many respects seen as superseding - the first covenant established by Moses (). Observance of the earlier covenant traditionally characterizes Judaism. This New Testament teaching, and later variations to it, are part of what is called supersessionism. However, the early Jewish followers of Jesus continued to practice circumcision and observe dietary laws, which is why the failure to observe these laws by the first Gentile Christians became a matter of controversy and dispute some years after Jesus' death (; ).
The New Testament holds that Jesus' (Jewish) disciple Judas Iscariot the Roman governor Pontius Pilate along with Roman forces and Jewish leaders and people of Jerusalem were (to varying degrees) responsible for the death of Jesus (). Diaspora Jews are not blamed for events which were outside their control.
After Jesus' death, the New Testament portrays the Jewish religious authorities in Jerusalem as hostile to Jesus' followers, and as occasionally using force against them. Stephen is executed by stoning (). Before his conversion, Saul puts followers of Jesus in prison (; ). After his conversion, Saul is whipped at various times by Jewish authorities and is accused by Jewish authorities before Roman courts (e.g., ). However, opposition from Gentiles is also cited repeatedly (; ). More generally, there are widespread references in the New Testament to suffering experienced by Jesus' followers at the hands of others (; ; ; ; ; ).
See Joseph Atwill's interview on the The Roots of Anti-Semitism
...it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. (...) Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.
Prejudice against Jews in the Roman Empire was formalized in 438, when the Code of Theodosius II established Christianity as the only legal religion in the Roman Empire. The Justinian Code a century later stripped Jews of many of their rights, and Church councils throughout the sixth and seventh century, including the Council of Orleans, further enforced anti-Jewish provisions. These restrictions began as early as 305, when, in Elvira, (now Granada), a Spanish town in Andalusia, the first known laws of any church council against Jews appeared. Christian women were forbidden to marry Jews unless the Jew first converted to Catholicism. Jews were forbidden to extend hospitality to Catholics. Jews could not keep Catholic Christian concubines and were forbidden to bless the fields of Catholics. In 589, in Catholic Iberia, the Third Council of Toledo ordered that children born of marriage between Jews and Catholic be baptized by force. By the Twelfth Council of Toledo (681) a policy of forced conversion of all Jews was initiated (Liber Judicum, II.2 as given in Roth). Thousands fled, and thousands of others converted to Roman Catholicism.
Antisemitism was widespread in Europe during the Middle Ages. In those times, a main cause of prejudice against Jews in Europe was the religious one. Although not part of Roman Catholic dogma, many Christians, including members of the clergy, held the Jewish people collectively responsible for the death of Jesus, a practice originated by Melito of Sardis. Among socio-economic factors were restrictions by the authorities. Local rulers and church officials closed the doors for many professions to the Jews, pushing them into occupations considered socially inferior such as accounting, rent-collecting and moneylending, which was tolerated then as a "necessary evil". During the Black Death, Jews were accused as being the cause, and were often killed. There were expulsions of Jews from England, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain during the Middle Ages as a result of antisemitism.
German for "Jews' sow", Judensau was the derogatory and dehumanizing imagery of Jews that appeared around the 13th century. Its popularity lasted for over 600 years and was revived by the Nazis. The Jews, typically portrayed in obscene contact with unclean animals such as pigs or owls or representing a devil, appeared on cathedral or church ceilings, pillars, utensils, etchings, etc. Often, the images combined several antisemitic motifs and included derisive prose or poetry.
"Dozens of Judensaus... intersect with the portrayal of the Jew as a Christ killer. Various illustrations of the murder of Simon of Trent blended images of Judensau, the devil, the murder of little Simon himself, and the Crucifixion. In the seventeenth-century engraving from Frankfurt ... a well-dressed, very contemporary-looking Jew has mounted the sow backward and holds her tail, while a second Jew sucks at her milk and a third eats her feces. The horned devil, himself wearing a Jewish badge, looks on and the butchered Simon, splayed as if on a cross, appears on a panel above.
In Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice," considered to be one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time, the villain Shylock was a Jewish moneylender. By the end of the play he is mocked on the streets after his daughter elopes with a Christian. Shylock, then, compulsorily converts to Christianity as a part of a deal gone wrong. This has raised profound implications regarding Shakespeare and antisemitism.
During the Middle Ages, the story of Jephonias, the Jew who tried to overturn Mary's funeral bier, changed from his converting to Christianity into his simply having his hands cut off by an angel.
On many occasions, Jews were subjected to blood libels, false accusations of drinking the blood of Christian children in mockery of the Christian Eucharist. Jews were subject to a wide range of legal restrictions throughout the Middle Ages, some of which lasted until the end of the 19th century. Jews were excluded from many trades, the occupations varying with place and time, and determined by the influence of various non-Jewish competing interests. Often Jews were barred from all occupations but money-lending and peddling, with even these at times forbidden.
Throughout the 19th century and into the 20th, the Roman Catholic Church still incorporated strong antisemitic elements, despite increasing attempts to separate anti-Judaism, the opposition to the Jewish religion on religious grounds, and racial antisemitism. Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) had the walls of the Jewish Ghetto in Rome rebuilt after the Jews were released by Napoleon, and Jews were restricted to the Ghetto through the end of the Papal States in 1870. Additionally, official organizations such as the Jesuits banned candidates "who are descended from the Jewish race unless it is clear that their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather have belonged to the Catholic Church" until 1946. Brown University historian David Kertzer, working from the Vatican archive, has further argued in his book The Popes Against the Jews that in the 19th and early 20th centuries the Roman Catholic Church adhered to a distinction between "good antisemitism" and "bad antisemitism". The "bad" kind promoted hatred of Jews because of their descent. This was considered un-Christian because the Christian message was intended for all of humanity regardless of ethnicity; anyone could become a Christian. The "good" kind criticized alleged Jewish conspiracies to control newspapers, banks, and other institutions, to care only about accumulation of wealth, etc. Many Catholic bishops wrote articles criticizing Jews on such grounds, and, when accused of promoting hatred of Jews, would remind people that they condemned the "bad" kind of antisemitism. Kertzer's work is not, therefore, without critics; scholar of Jewish-Christian relations Rabbi David G. Dalin, for example, criticized Kertzer in the Weekly Standard for using evidence selectively.
The Second Vatican Council, the Nostra Aetate document, and the efforts of Pope John Paul II have helped reconcile Jews and Catholicism in recent decades, however. The Nazis used Martin Luther's book, On the Jews and Their Lies, to claim a moral righteousness for their ideology. In 1994, the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States and a member of the Lutheran World Federation publicly rejected Luther's antisemitic writings. The controversial document Dabru Emet was issued by many American Jewish scholars in 2000 as a statement about Jewish-Christian relations. This document says,
"Nazism was not a Christian phenomenon. Without the long history of Christian anti-Judaism and Christian violence against Jews, Nazi ideology could not have taken hold nor could it have been carried out. Too many Christians participated in, or were sympathetic to, Nazi atrocities against Jews. Other Christians did not protest sufficiently against these atrocities. But Nazism itself was not an inevitable outcome of Christianity."
Though never a part of Christian dogma, many Christians, including members of the clergy, held the Jewish people under a antisemitic canard to be collectively responsible for deicide, the killing of Jesus, whom they believed to be God.
According to this interpretation, the Jews present at Jesus’ death as well as the Jewish people collectively and for all time had committed the sin of deicide, or God-killing. The accusation has been the most powerful warrant for antisemitism by Christians.
Passion plays are dramatic stagings representing the trial and death of Jesus and have historically been used in remembrance of Jesus' death during Lent. These plays historically blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus in a polemical fashion, depicting a crowd of Jewish people condemning Jesus to crucifixion and a Jewish leader assuming eternal collective guilt for the crowd for the murder of Jesus, which, The Boston Globe explains, "for centuries prompted vicious attacks — or pogroms — on Europe's Jewish communities". Time magazine in its article, The Problem With Passion, explains that "such passages (are) highly subject to interpretation". Although modern scholars interpret the "blood on our children" as "a specific group's oath of responsibility" some audiences have historically interpreted it as "an assumption of eternal, racial guilt". This last interpretation has often incited violence against Jews; according to the Anti-Defamation League, "Passion plays historically unleashed the torrents of hatred aimed at the Jews, who always were depicted as being in partnership with the devil and the reason for Jesus' death". The Christian Science Monitor, in its article, Capturing the Passion, explains that "historically, productions have reflected negative images of Jews and the long-time church teaching that the Jewish people were collectively responsible for Jesus' death. Violence against Jews as 'Christ-killers' often flared in their wake." Christianity Today in Why some Jews fear The Passion (of the Christ) observed that "Outbreaks of Christian antisemitism related to the Passion narrative have been...numerous and destructive." The Religion Newswriters Association observed that
"in Easter 2001, three incidents made national headlines and renewed their fears. One was a column by Paul Weyrich, a conservative Christian leader and head of the Free Congress Foundation, who argued that "Christ was crucified by the Jews." Another was sparked by comments from the NBA point guard and born-again Christian Charlie Ward, who said in an interview that Jews were persecuting Christians and that Jews "had his [Jesus'] blood on their hands." Finally, the evangelical Christian comic strip artist Johnny Hart published a B.C. strip that showed a menorah disintegrating until it became a cross, with each panel featuring the last words of Jesus, including "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
The charge of deicide and all direct and indirect antisemitism was ruled wrong by the Second Vatican Council in 1962 and most Christians have followed suit since.
In 1988, the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Inter religious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published Criteria for the Evaluation of Dramatizations of the Passion, in order to ensure that Passion Plays adhere to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the Pontifical Biblical Commission as expressed in Nostra Aetate no. 4 (October 28, 1965). These criteria were summarized for the Archdiocese of Boston as:
On January 6, 2004, the Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America similarly issued a statement urging any Lutheran church presenting a Passion Play to adhere to their Guidelines for Lutheran-Jewish Relations, stating that "the New Testament . . . must not be used as justification for hostility towards present-day Jews," and that "blame for the death of Jesus should not be attributed to Judaism or the Jewish people."
In 2003 and 2004 some people compared Mel Gibson's recent film The Passion of the Christ to these kinds of passion plays, but this characterization is hotly disputed; an analysis of that topic is in the article on The Passion of the Christ. Despite such fears, there have been no publicized antisemitic incidents directly attributable to the movie's influence. However, the film's reputation for antisemitism led to the movie being distributed and well-received throughout the Muslim world, even in nations that typically suppress public expressions of Christianity.
Various definitions of antisemitism in the context of Islam are given. The extent of antisemitism among Muslims varies depending on the chosen definition:
Leon Poliakov, Walter Laqueur, and Jane Gerber, suggest that passages in the Qur'an contain attacks on Jews for their refusal to recognize Muhammad as a prophet of God. "The Qurʾān is engaged mainly in dealing with the sinners among the Jews and the attack on them is shaped according to models that one encounters in the New Testament. Muhammad had also friends among Jews and there are also Qur'anic verses showing respect for the Jews (e.g. see , ) and preaching tolerance (e.g. see ). The Qur'an differentiates between "good and bad" Jews, Poliakov states. Laqueur argues that the conflicting statements about Jews in the Muslim holy text has defined Arab and Muslim attitude towards Jews to this day, especially during periods of rising Islamic fundamentalism.
During Muhammad's life, Jews lived in the Arabian Peninsula, especially in and around Medina. They reportedly refused Muhammad's offer for them to convert and accept him as the Prophet. According to F.E. Peters, they also began to secretly to conspire with Muhammad's enemies in Mecca to overthrow him (despite having signed a peace treaty ). After each major battle, Muhammad accused one of the Jewish tribes of treachery and attacked it. Two Jewish tribes were expelled and the last one was wiped out. Samuel Rosenblatt states that these incidents were not part of policies directed exclusively against Jews, and that Muhammad was more severe with his pagan Arab kinsmen than foreigner monotheists.
The words "humility" and "humiliation" occur frequently in the Qur'an and later Muslim literature in relation to Jews. According to Lewis, "This, in Islamic view, is their just punishment for their past rebelliousness, and is manifested in their present impotence between the mighty powers of Christendom and Islam." The standard Quranic reference to Jews is verse : "And remember ye said: "O Moses! we cannot endure one kind of food (always); so beseech thy Lord for us to produce for us of what the earth groweth, -its pot-herbs, and cucumbers, Its garlic, lentils, and onions." He said: "Will ye exchange the better for the worse? Go ye down to any town, and ye shall find what ye want!" They were covered with humiliation and misery; they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah. This because they went on rejecting the Signs of Allah and slaying His Messengers without just cause. This because they rebelled and went on transgressing. "
Cowardice, greed, and chicanery are but a few of the characteristics that the Qur'an ascribes to the Jews.(Quranic verse needed) The Qur'an further associates Jews with interconfessional strife and rivalry (Qur'an ). It claims that Jews believe that they are children of God (Qur'an ) and that only they will achieve salvation.() According to the Qur'an, Jews blasphemously claim that Ezra is the son of God, as Christians claim Jesus is, (Qur'an ) and that God’s hand is fettered. (Qur'an ) Together with the pagans, Jews are, “the most vehement of men in enmity to those who believe”. (Qur'an ) Some of those who are Jews, "pervert words from their meanings", (Qur'an ) have committed wrongdoing, for which God has "forbidden some good things that were previously permitted them", (Qur'an ) they listen for the sake of mendacity, (Qur'an ) and some of them have committed usury and will receive "a painful doom." (Qur'an ) The Qur'an gives credence to the Christian claim of Jews scheming against Jesus, "...but God also schemed, and God is the best of schemers."(Qur'an ) In the Muslim view, the crucifixion of Jesus was an illusion, and thus the Jewish plots against him ended in complete failure. In numerous verses (; ; ; , , ; ) the Qur'an accuses Jews of deliberately obscuring and perverting scripture.
The traditional biographies of Muhammad recount the expulsion of the Jewish tribes of Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir from Medina, the massacre of Banu Qurayza, and Muhammad's attack on the Jews of Khaybar. The rabbis of Medina are singled out as "men whose malice and enmity was aimed at the Apostle of God [i.e., Muhammad]". Jews appear in the biographies of Muhammad not only as malicious, but also deceitful, cowardly, and totally lacking in resolve. Their ignominy is presented in marked contrast to Muslim heroism, and in general conforms to the Quranic image of people with "wretchedness and baseness stamped upon them".(Qur'an )
The notable examples of massacre of Jews include the 1066 Granada massacre, when a Muslim mob stormed the royal palace in Granada, crucified Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacred most of the Jewish population of the city. "More than 1,500 Jewish families, numbering 4,000 persons, fell in one day." This was the first persecution of Jews on the Peninsula under Islamic rule. There was also the killing or forcibly conversion of them by the rulers of the Almohad dynasty in Al-Andalus in the 12th century. Notable examples of the cases where the choice of residence was taken away from them includes confining Jews to walled quarters (mellahs) in Morocco beginning from the 15th century and especially since the early 19th century. Most conversions were voluntary and happened for various reasons. However, there were some forced conversions in the 12th century under the Almohad dynasty of North Africa and al-Andalus as well as in Persia.
Some Muslim writers have inserted racial overtones in their anti-Jewish polemics. Al-Jahiz speaks of the deterioration of the Jewish stock due to excessive inbreeding. Ibn Hazm also implies racial qualities in his attacks on the Jews. However, these were exceptions, and the racial theme left little or no trace in the medieval Muslim anti-Jewish writings.
Anti-Jewish sentiments usually flared up at times of the Muslim political or military weakness or when Muslims felt that some Jews had overstepped the boundary of humiliation prescribed to them by the Islamic law. In Moorish Spain, ibn Hazm and Abu Ishaq focused their anti-Jewish writings on the latter allegation. This was also the chief motivation behind the 1066 Granada massacre, when "[m]ore than 1,500 Jewish families, numbering 4,000 persons, fell in one day", and in Fez in 1033, when 6,000 Jews were killed. There were further massacres in Fez in 1276 and 1465.
Islamic law does not differentiate between Jews and Christians in their status as dhimmis. According to Bernard Lewis, the normal practice of Muslim governments until modern times was consistent with this aspect of sharia law. This view is countered by Jane Gerber, who maintains that of all dhimmis, Jews had the lowest status. Gerber maintains that this situation was especially pronounced in the latter centuries, when Christian communities enjoyed protection, unavailable to the Jews, under the provisions of Capitulations of the Ottoman Empire. For example, in 18th century Damascus, a Muslim noble held a festival, inviting to it all social classes in descending order, according to their social status: the Jews outranked only the peasants and prostitutes. In 1865, when the equality of all subjects of the Ottoman Empire was proclaimed, Cevdet Pasha, a high-ranking official observed: "whereas in former times, in the Ottoman State, the communities were ranked, with the Muslims first, then the Greeks, then the Armenians, then the Jews, now all of them were put on the same level. Some Greeks objected to this, saying: 'The government has put us together with the Jews. We were content with the supremacy of Islam.'
Some scholars have questioned the correctness of the term "antisemitism" to Muslim culture in pre-modern times. Robert Chazan and Alan Davies argue that the most obvious difference between pre-modern Islam and pre-modern Christendom was the "rich melange of racial, ethic, and religious communities" in Islamic countries, within which "the Jews were by no means obvious as lone dissenters, as they had been earlier in the world of polytheism or subsequently in most of medieval Christendom." According to Chazan and Davies, this lack of uniqueness ameliorated the circumstances of Jews in the medieval world of Islam. According to Norman Stillman, antisemitism, understood as hatred of Jews as Jews, "did exist in the medieval Arab world even in the period of greatest tolerance".
There was a massacre of Jews in Baghdad in 1828 and in 1839, in the eastern Persian city of Meshed, a mob burst into the Jewish Quarter, burned the synagogue, and destroyed the Torah scrolls. It was only by forcible conversion that a massacre was averted. There was another massacre in Barfurush in 1867.
In 1840, the Jews of Damascus were falsely accused of having murdered a Christian monk and his Muslim servant and of having used their blood to bake Passover bread or Matza. A Jewish barber was tortured until he "confessed"; two other Jews who were arrested died under torture, while a third converted to Islam to save his life. Throughout the 1860s, the Jews of Libya were subjected to what Gilbert calls punitive taxation. In 1864, around 500 Jews were killed in Marrakech and Fez in Morroco. In 1869, 18 Jews were killed in Tunis, and an Arab mob looted Jewish homes and stores, and burned synagogues, on Jerba Island. In 1875, 20 Jews were killed by a mob in Demnat, Morocco; elsewhere in Morocco, Jews were attacked and killed in the streets in broad daylight. In 1891, the leading Muslims in Jerusalem asked the Ottoman authorities in Constantinople to prohibit the entry of Jews arriving from Russia. In 1897, synagogues were ransacked and Jews were murdered in Tripolitania.
Benny Morris writes that one symbol of Jewish degradation was the phenomenon of stone-throwing at Jews by Muslim children. Morris quotes a 19th century traveler: "I have seen a little fellow of six years old, with a troop of fat toddlers of only three and four, teaching [them] to throw stones at a Jew, and one little urchin would, with the greatest coolness, waddle up to the man and literally spit upon his Jewish gaberdine. To all this the Jew is obliged to submit; it would be more than his life was worth to offer to strike a Mahommedan."
According to Mark Cohen in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies, most scholars conclude that Arab antisemitism in the modern world arose in the nineteenth century, against the backdrop of conflicting Jewish and Arab nationalism, and was imported into the Arab world primarily by nationalistically minded Christian Arabs (and only subsequently was it "Islamized").
The massacres of Jews in Muslim countries continued into the 20th century. Martin Gilbert writes that 40 Jews were murdered in Taza, Morocco in 1903. In 1905, old laws were revived in Yemen forbidding Jews from raising their voices in front of Muslims, building their houses higher than Muslims, or engaging in any traditional Muslim trade or occupation. The Jewish quarter in Fez was almost destroyed by a Muslim mob in 1912. There were Nazi-inspired pogroms in Algeria in the 1930s, and massive attacks on the Jews in Iraq and Libya in the 1940s (see Farhud). Pro-Nazi Muslims slaughtered dozens of Jews in Baghdad in 1941.
George Gruen attributes the increased animosity towards Jews in the Arab world to several factors, including the breakdown of the Ottoman Empire and traditional Islamic society; domination by Western colonial powers under which Jews gained a disproportionately larger role in the commercial, professional, and administrative life of the region; the rise of Arab nationalism, whose proponents sought the wealth and positions of local Jews through government channels; resentment against Jewish nationalism and the Zionist movement; and the readiness of unpopular regimes to scapegoat local Jews for political purposes.
Antagonism and violence increased still further as resentment against Zionist efforts in the British Mandate of Palestine spread. Anti-Zionist propaganda in the Middle East frequently adopts the terminology and symbols of the Holocaust to demonize Israel and its leaders. At the same time, Holocaust denial and Holocaust minimization efforts have found increasingly overt acceptance as sanctioned historical discourse in a number of Middle Eastern countries. Arabic- and Turkish-editions of Hitler's Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion have found an audience in the region with limited critical response by local intellectuals and media. See International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust.
According to Robert Satloff, Muslims and Arabs were involved both as rescuers and as perpetrators of the Holocaust during Italian and German Nazi occupation of Morocco, Tunisia and Libya.
Antisemitism has been reportedly found in Arab and Iranian media and schoolbooks. For example, the Center for Religious Freedom of Freedom House analyzed a set of Saudi Ministry of Education textbooks in use during the current academic year in Islamic studies courses for elementary and secondary school students. Among the statements and ideas found against non-Wahhabi Muslims and "non-believers" were those that teach Muslims to "hate" Christians, Jews, "polytheists" and other "unbelievers," including non-Wahhabi Muslims, though, incongruously, not to treat them "unjustly"; teach the infamous forgeries The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as historical fact and relate modern events to it; teach that "Jews and the Christians are enemies of the [Muslim] believers" and that "the clash" between the two realms is perpetual; instruct that "fighting between Muslims and Jews" will continue until Judgment Day, and that the Muslims are promised victory over the Jews in the end; cite a selective teaching of violence against Jews, while in the same lesson, ignoring the passages of the Qur'an and hadiths that counsel tolerance; include a map of the Middle East that labels Israel within its pre-1967 borders as "Palestine: occupied 1948"; discuss Jews in violent terms, blaming them for virtually all the "subversion" and wars of the modern world. A of Saudi Arabia's curriculum has been released to the press by the Hudson Institute.
Racial antisemitism is the idea that the Jews are a distinct and inferior race compared to their host nations. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it gained mainstream acceptance as part of the eugenics movement, which categorized non-"Europeans" as inferior. It more specifically claims that the so-called Nordic Europeans are superior. Racial antisemites saw the Jews as part of a Semitic race and emphasized their "alien" extra-European origins and culture. They saw Jews as beyond redemption even if they converted to the majority religion. Anthropologists discussed whether the Jews possessed any Arabic-Armenoid, African-Nubian or Asian-Turkic ancestries. Since the second world war racial antisemitism has rarely appeared outside of Neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements.
Racial antisemitism replaced the hatred of Judaism with the hatred of Jews as a group. In the context of the Industrial Revolution, following the emancipation of the Jews, Jews rapidly urbanized and experienced a period of greater social mobility. With the decreasing role of religion in public life tempering religious antisemitism, a combination of growing nationalism, the rise of eugenics, and resentment at the socio-economic success of the Jews led to the newer, and more virulent, racist antisemitism.
One of the main reasons the Chassidim were excommunicated by the contemporary Jewry was their development of the Chasidische Hallaf, the principal modern utensil in Shechitah . The Swiss banned kosher slaughter in 1902 and saw an antisemitic backlash against a proposal to lift the ban a century later. Both the Netherlands and Switzerland have considered extending the ban in order to prohibit importing kosher products. The former chief rabbi of Norway, Michael Melchior, argues that antisemitism is a motive for the bans: "I won't say this is the only motivation, but it's certainly no coincidence that one of the first things Nazi Germany forbade was kosher slaughter. I also know that during the original debate on this issue in Norway, where shechitah has been banned since 1930, one of the parliamentarians said straight out, 'If they don't like it, let them go live somewhere else.'"
In the United States, in the context of the "Global War on Terrorism" there have been statements by both the Democrat Ernest Hollings and the Republican Pat Buchanan that suggest that the George W. Bush administration went to war in order to win Jewish supporters. Some note these statements echo Lindberg’s 1941 claim before the US entered World War II that a Jewish minority was pushing America into a war against its interests. During 2004, a number of prominent public figures accused Jewish members of the Bush administration of tricking America into war against Saddam Hussein to help Israel. U.S. Senator Ernest Hollings (D-South Carolina) claimed that the US action against Saddam was undertaken 'to secure Israel.' Television talk show host Pat Buchanan said a 'cabal' had managed 'to snare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interests.'" Both these statements were labeled antisemitic by Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.
On April 3, 2006, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced its finding that incidents of antisemitism are a "serious problem" on college campuses throughout the United States. The Commission recommended that the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights protect college students from antisemitism through vigorous enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and further recommended that Congress clarify that Title VI applies to discrimination against Jewish students.''
On July 28, 2006, Naveed Afzal Haq shot six women, one fatally, in the Seattle Jewish Federation shooting. Police have classified the shooting as a hate crime based on Haq statements during a 9-1-1 call.
On September 19, 2006, Yale University founded The Yale Initiative for Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism, the first North American university-based center for study of the subject, as part of its Institution for Social and Policy Studies. Director Charles Small of the Center cited the increase in antisemitism worldwide in recent years as generating a "need to understand the current manifestation of this disease".
According to an Anti-Defamation League survey 14 percent of U.S. residents had antisemitic views. The 2005 survey found "35 percent of foreign-born Hispanics" and "36 percent of African-Americans hold strong antisemitic beliefs, four times more than the 9 percent for whites".
France is home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim population (about 4 million) as well as the continent’s largest Jewish community (about 600,000). Jewish leaders decry an intensifying antisemitism in France, mainly among Muslims of Arab or African heritage, but also growing among Caribbean islanders from former French colonies.
However, it is Muslims rather than Jews who can expect to suffer more from bigotry in France, stated Holocaust survivor and former French cabinet minister Simone Veil. "Let's not exaggerate," she said. While noting that radical Islamists are behind some violent incidents against Jews in certain French neighbourhoods, "Anti-Arab sentiment is much stronger in France than anti-Semitism." France's Jewish community is much more integrated than its almost 6 million Muslims, she noted, claiming Muslim youth are moved by a militant and anti-Jewish hierarchy. Former Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy denounced the killing of Ilan Halimi on 13 February 2006 as an antisemitic crime.
In 2004 the UK Parliament set up an all-party inquiry into antisemitism, which published its findings in 2006. The inquiry stated that "until recently, the prevailing opinion both within the Jewish community and beyond [had been] that antisemitism had receded to the point that it existed only on the margins of society." It found a reversal of this progress since 2000. It aimed to investigate the problem, identify the sources of contemporary antisemitism and make recommendations to improve the situation. On January 1,, 2006, Britain's chief rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, warned that what he called a "tsunami of antisemitism" was spreading globally. In an interview with BBC's Radio Four, Sacks said that antisemitism was on the rise in Europe, and that a number of his rabbinical colleagues had been assaulted, synagogues desecrated, and Jewish schools burned to the ground in Germany. He also said that: "People are attempting to silence and even ban Jewish societies on campuses on the grounds that Jews must support the state of Israel, therefore they should be banned, which is quite extraordinary because [...] British Jews see themselves as British citizens. So it's that kind of feeling that you don't know what's going to happen next that's making [...] some European Jewish communities uncomfortable."
Much of the new European antisemitic violence can actually be seen as a spill over from the long running Arab-Israeli conflict since the majority of the perpetrators are from the large immigrant Arab communities in European cities. However, compared to France, the United Kingdom and much of the rest of Europe, in Germany Arab and pro-Palestinian groups are involved in only a very small percentage of antisemitic incidents. Indigenous Germans are far more likely to commit violent antisemitic acts, attack Jews verbally or vandalize Jewish property. This is also true of Sweden and Austria. According to The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism, most of the current antisemitism in Europe, with exceptions to Germany, Austria, and Sweden, comes from militant Islamic and Muslim groups, and most Jews tend to be assaulted in countries where groups of young Muslim immigrants reside.
Similarly, in the Middle East, anti-Zionist propaganda frequently adopts the terminology and symbols of the Holocaust to demonize Israel and its leaders — for instance, comparing Israel's treatment of the Palestinians to Nazi Germany's treatment of Jews. At the same time, Holocaust denial and Holocaust minimization efforts find increasingly overt acceptance as sanctioned historical discourse in a number of Middle Eastern countries.
The Interior Minister of Germany, Wolfgang Schaeuble, points out the official policy of Germany: "We will not tolerate any form of extremism, xenophobia or anti-Semitism." Although the number of right-wing groups and organisations grew from 141 (2001) to 182 (2006), especially in the formerly communist East Germany, Germany's measures against right wing groups and antisemitism are effective, despite Germany having the highest rates of antisemitic acts in Europe. According to the annual reports of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution the overall number of far-right extremists in Germany dropped during the last years from 49,700 (2001), 45,000 (2002), 41,500 (2003), 40,700 (2004), 39,000 (2005), to 38,600 in 2006. Germany provided several million Euro's to fund "nationwide programs aimed at fighting far-right extremism, including teams of traveling consultants, and victims' groups." Despite these facts, Israeli Ambassador Shimon Stein warned in October 2006 that Jews in Germany feel increasingly "unsafe," stating that they "are not able to live a normal Jewish life" and that heavy security surrounds most synagogues or Jewish community centers. Yosef Havlin, Rabbi at the Chabad Lubavitch Frankfurt does not agree with the Israeli Ambassador and states in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine in September 2007, that the German public does not support Nazis, instead he has personally experienced the support of Germans, as a Jew and Rabbi he "feels welcome in his (hometown) Frankfurt, he is not afraid, the city is no-go-area". Despite this comment, on the 11th of September, 2007 an antisemitic incident occurred whereby Frankfurt Rabbi, Zalman Gurevitch, was stabbed repeatedly, the attacker subsequently threatening in German "I'll kill you, you (expletive) Jew.
Independent voices, including leading Jewish philanthropist Baron Eric de Rothschild who received an honorary doctorate from Hebrew University, suggest that the extent of antisemitism in Europe has been exaggerated. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post he says that "some of the complaints emanating from Israel about the treatment of French Jews amount to 'an element of schadenfreude (taking pleasure at another's misfortune) on the part of those who have already made aliya: When the cousins come over, they say, It's terrible [in France] - you have to come to Israel." About France he says: "People are in fact philo-Semitic in the government, mayors, to an extent which goes beyond pure electoral calculations" and "the one thing you can't say is that France is an anti-Semitic country.
According to the Pew Global Attitudes Project released on August 14, 2005, high percentages of the populations of six Muslim-majority countries have negative views of Jews. To a questionnaire asking respondents to give their views of members of various religions along a spectrum from "very favorable" to "very unfavorable," 60% of Turks, 88% of Moroccans, 99% of Lebanese Muslims and 100% of Jordanians checked either "somewhat unfavorable" or "very unfavorable" for Jews.
The Saudi Arabian government website initially stated that Jews would not be granted tourist visas to enter the country. It has since removed this statement, and apologized for posting "erroneous information". Members of religions other than Islam, including Jews, are not permitted to practice their religion publicly in Saudi Arabia;
Saudi Arabian government officials and state religious leaders often promote the idea that "the Jews" are conspiring to take over the entire world; as proof of their claims they publish and frequently cite The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as factual.
In 2001, Arab Radio and Television of Saudi Arabia produced a 30-part television miniseries entitled "Horseman Without a Horse", a dramatization of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
One Saudi Arabian government newspaper suggested that hatred of all Jews is justifiable.
Saudi textbooks vilify Jews (and Christians and non-Wahabi Muslims): according to the May 21, 2006 issue of The Washington Post, Saudi textbooks claimed by them to have been sanitized of antisemitism still call Jews apes (and Christians swine); demand that students avoid and not befriend Jews; claim that Jews worship the devil; and encourage Muslims to engage in Jihad to vanquish Jews.
Al-Manar recently aired a drama series, called The Diaspora, which observers allege is based on historical antisemitic allegations. BBC reporters who watched the series said that correspondents who have viewed The Diaspora note that it quotes extensively from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious 19th century publication used by the Nazis among others to fuel race hatred.
Muslim clerics in the Middle East have frequently referred to Jews as descendants of apes and pigs, which are conventional epithets for Jews and Christians. In April 2002, Egyptian Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque and Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University, and the highest ranking Sunni Arab cleric, described Jews in his weekly sermon as "the enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs." Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais is the leading imam of the Grand mosque located in the Islamic holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The BBC aired a Panorama episode, entitled A Question of Leadership, which reported that al-Sudais referred to Jews as "the scum of the human race" and "offspring of apes and pigs", and stated, "the worst [...] of the enemies of Islam are those [...] whom he [...] made monkeys and pigs, the aggressive Jews and oppressive Zionists and those that follow them [...] Monkeys and pigs and worshippers of false Gods who are the Jews and the Zionists." In another sermon, on April 19, 2002, he declared that Jews are "evil offspring, infidels, distorters of [others'] words, calf-worshippers, prophet-murderers, prophecy-deniers [...] the scum of the human race whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs [...]
On December 11, 2006 the "International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust" opened in Tehran, Iran with widespread condemnation. The conference, called for by and held at the behest of Ahmadinejad, was widely described as a "Holocaust denial conference" or a "meeting of Holocaust deniers", though Iran has said that it was not a Holocaust denial conference.
On May 5, 2001, after Shimon Peres visited Egypt, the Egyptian al-Akhbar internet paper stated that: "lies and deceit are not foreign to Jews[...]. For this reason, Allah changed their shape and made them into monkeys and pigs.